Pubdate: Mon, 2 Mar 1998
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Contact:  2007 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


Tom Yeoman has not done his homework.  I had hoped that his 
reefer-madness myths had been put to rest in 1997 when Ontario 
Justice John McCart ruled, "Consumption of marijuana is relatively 
harmless compared to the so-called hard drugs including tobacco and 
alcohol.  There exists no hard evidence demonstrating any 
irreversible organic or mental damage from the consumption of 
marijuana.  Cannabis is not an addictive substance.  There have been 
no recorded deaths from the consumption of marijuana.  There is no 
evidence that marijuana causes amotivational syndrome."

Besides, Yeoman's erroneous hysteria is irrelevant to his defence of 
criminalizing non-violent cannabis users.  Even if cannabis were as 
dangerous as tobacco, ( where are the bodies? ), it would make even 
less sense to abdicate cannabis distribution, ( and profits ), to the 
unregulated black market.  Contrary to popular belief, prohibition is 
at the bottom; not the top of the regulatory scale.  We have more 
control over corn flakes than we do the so-called controlled drugs 
and substances.

For the sake of discussion, let us overlook our over-burdened courts, 
prisons and police forces and temporarily accept that Tom Yeoman 
knows something that Justice McCart, The Lancet, the New England 
Journal of Medicine and every major study on the subject inexplicably 
missed.  Which of the following dangerous substance distribution 
systems makes the most sense?

The Tom Yeoman System: We remove all taxes and tariffs from the 
substance.  We remove all forms of regulation, quality control and 
labelling.  We make the substance worth its weight in gold.  We hire 
anyone of any age from any walk of life, criminal background and 
level of education to distribute the substance.  We sell the 
substance 24 hours a day to anyone of any age anywhere, including 
school grounds.  We pay our distributors on commission to encourage 
aggressive market expansion.  We stock our distributors with more 
addictive products in case they temporarily run out of our 
substance.  We arm our distributors so they can defend their 
extremely valuable products and protect their market share.

The Le Dain Commission System: We tax the substance, directing the 
revenues proportional to the popularity of the substance, toward 
education and research toward making the substance safer.  We 
regulate quality, labelling and advertising.  We hire licensed, 
trained, background checked, salary paid distributors.  We prohibit 
sales to minors.

Matthew M. Elrod